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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: May 30, 2012 11:03am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 150th Anniversary Today

It's true Beauregard had an active and creative mind, but that's the kind of person I want working for me, even if some of the ideas are off the wall. I will disagree that many commanders regarded him poorly. There is a long list of generals under him that couldn't or didn't get the job done, while he often did. Beauregard's touchy sense of honor clashed with Davis' very own, and that was on Davis. Davis had to put his feelings aside and manage people, which he did not do (especially when he visited Charleston during the fall of '63).

Speaking of a touchy type Bragg was close to an utter failure. Quite the opposite of Beauregard in that he had no imagination, nor did he realize the possibilities in front of him such as his invasion of Kentucky in '62. The Battle of Missionary Ridge was a disgrace.

Cleburne (the first to suggest that blacks be allowed to enlist onto their emancipation) is another example a talent gone to waste.

Johnston sure was loved by his men and fought very well the way he was taught at West Point, but had no fighting spirit. Kennesaw Mountain was Sherman on the infinitive, not Johnston. Being constantly outflanked by Sherman on Johnstons left while sitting in his well fortified positions atop the high ground, just hoping Sherman would attack was giving up the initiative which will only lead to defeat. And did. Forest ought to have been ordered to attack Sherman's supply line, but spent that summer far from that critical lifeline. Who am I to question Grant, but if Johnston was in charge the war would not have been prolonged. I think of his lack of action near Vicksburg during June of '63. I wonder what Pemberton said after the city fell, if anything.

I don't know which Moltke's you refer too, but what an ass. Those armies flowing out of Belgium in '14 had perfect order. Right.

A slightly icky topic, but I wonder about the incidents of rape, especially by Union soldiers in the occupied South. I couldn't find much regarding white women being raped. Those soldiers were shot when proven guilty. I am cautions b/c I wonder how many white women reported the fact or even said a word to anyone, ever. Unfortunately, I found many instances of black women being raped w/ no punishment to the soldier.

Glory was a good flick. LiA, you don't think America is ready to see what a .58 caliber minie round will do to the human body or a depiction of being burned to death between the lines during the night? I mean we have movies, popular entertainment, were children kill children. Gladiators are right around the corner.

LiA and AR this has been great! Indulge away.

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Poster: Mandojammer Date: Jun 1, 2012 8:27am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Hope one of you two sees this....

"Cleburne (the first to suggest that blacks be allowed to enlist onto their emancipation) is another example a talent gone to waste."

Admittedly, my CW knowledge isn't very deep, but having been to Franklin numerous times (in-laws) I am somewhat familiar with what was probably one of the more costly battles over nothing in the entire war. The CSA lost 14 generals at the Battle of Franklin - a battle of no significance whatsoever.

Feel free to pile on and shed more light....I've been enjoying the lesson......

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: Jun 1, 2012 11:11am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Hope one of you two sees this....

Many speculate that Hood was trying to 'teach' his Army a lesson and instilling them w/ courage by assaulting the enemy behind breastworks. After the first charge I don't know what he was thinking. What a unnecessary and callous way to respect and care for your men. He basically lost the Army of Tennessee in front of those breastworks.

What is the Battle of Franklin memorial like today?

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jun 1, 2012 12:51pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Hope one of you two sees this....

Pickett's Charge gets all the fame, but as far as hopeless lost-cause charges, Franklin was the worst. Hood knew nothing but frontal charges.
Hood was very bitter that day because he thought he'd trapped the Union army the day before & could have damaged them if he'd pressed it, but they slipped away in the night to a better position. So he was desperate to attack for fear they'd get away again. (And indeed, the day after the battle, despite having crushed Hood's army, the Union army declined to fight again & kept withdrawing to Nashville.)

The bravery of the men in the Army of Tennessee was totally wasted by the quality of their generals. Many a hard-fought battle came to nothing & failed to serve any purpose, whether under Bragg or Hood.
It didn't help that by late '63/64, they were up against the best generals the Union had. Thomas in particular is somewhat under-known, considering how he stood fast against Bragg at Stones River & Chickamauga, it was his men who shattered the Confederates on Missionary Ridge, AND he wiped out Hood at Nashville - surely one of the Union's top men, yet Lincoln & Grant just complained about how slow he was!

There has been some writing on how Civil War armies were never able to destroy each other as thoroughly as their commanders would have liked. (Since they were too evenly matched.) There are many accounts of Lee practically hopping up & down in disappointment (well, in his dignified manner) that after one of his victories, the Union army could just retreat unmolested because he hadn't enough men to pursue.
Nonetheless, after Franklin & Nashville, the Army of Tennessee was about as annihilated as could be.

Sam Watkins had a memorable chapter on Franklin in his book Co. Aytch, in high Victorian style:

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: Jun 1, 2012 4:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Hope one of you two sees this....

Pickett gets so much attention he does not deserve for 'The Charge' which for me was the beginning of the end. Not so much so where he was in command for the Battle of Five Forks (4-1-65) where he lost 30% of his 'Army' as Sheridan drove him back hard and flanked his and Lee's left. It can't be all Pickets fault b/c he was not in command during the critical opening hours of the battle. He was at a shad bake w/ two other generals. Picket neglected to inform his staff where he was going. There are rumors of whiskey drunk by the three Generals, but no proof.

Lee informed Davis that Petersburg and Richmond must be evacuated. The Battle of Five Forks was definitely the end of the end as a week later Lee was to surrender his Army.

Picket was the war's most incompetent Confederate division leader in the East. I wonder why Lee kept him?

Lee attempting to bag the Army of the Potomac is a long thread in of itself. For example, at Chancellorsville Jackson lost his life preparing for a rare night attack. He wanted those two fords (Ely's & U.S.) across the Rapidan River to cut off Hookers line of retreat. A great counterfactual game is what would have happened if hackson didn't get shot until one or two days later.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jun 1, 2012 7:36pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Hope one of you two sees this....

I didn't know Pickett's reputation was so low, nor that he was utterly incompetent (aside from that ill-fated shad bake).
Pickett had, after all, driven back Sheridan's advance the day before. Apparently he felt confident about his defensive position, or that Sheridan wouldn't try again. And though he wasn't present during the battle, it might have made no difference if he was...
Nonetheless, Lee later relieved him of command, though by then it was pointless.
In any case, Lee may have had to hang onto subpar officers since by the end, he had so few officers left.

Pickett's division did at least get the farthest in "Pickett's Charge," which could perhaps more accurately be called "Longstreet's Charge" - but probably no commander could possibly have pulled it off. Afterwards, Pickett wailed to Lee, "I have no division!"

The most popular CW counterfactual has to be, what if Jackson didn't get shot at all... You just know Gettysburg would have gone differently if it had been Jackson there rather than Ewell. How differently, who can say?
Nonetheless, Gettysburg was pretty much the Confederates' worst-led battle in the East. For two days, Lee could do nothing right, and whatever plans he had all fell apart. (For instance, the other attacks that were supposed to support 'the Charge' completely fizzled, making the Charge a hopeless idea at best.)
Perhaps part of it was 'victory syndrome,' assuming that the Union army he'd so easily trounced several times in the past year would collapse this time too... "It is all my fault," he said as the survivors trickled back.

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: Jun 1, 2012 10:50pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Hope one of you two sees this....

Picket faced his ruin at he Battle of Five Forks, a consequence of young boys and old men fighting, many of which were fighting their fist battle. 6K of his men broke. The Union victory at the Battle of Five Forks caused Lee's left wing to be up the the air, flanked, and his days were numbered.

Longstreet is my fav Southern CW General. Obviously Lee should have sidled against the Union left flank and found the high ground and forced Meade to attack. Thank God Lee didn't.

I would do Jackson for two days b/c if Hooker didn't get those troops across the Rapidan, the war could have been over.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jun 2, 2012 1:18am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Hope one of you two sees this....

Ah yes, Longstreet - like Thomas, often begrudged for his slowness; but also famed for his crushing assaults at 2nd Bull Run, the second day of Gettysburg, Chickamauga, the Wilderness...
He didn't always get along well with others - like many of the generals, he could be headstrong. (Even some modern historians consider him overly puffed-up.) His independent operations around Knoxville didn't do so well, even though he was opposing the notorious Burnside.
He has most often been blamed for his slowness at Gettysburg day two; though that march proved more difficult than expected & was plagued by bad intelligence on the route & the location of the Union army. (All part of the general miasma of misfortune that surrounded the Confederate leadership in that battle.)

In Lee's defense, though, maneuvering into a defensive position raised a couple serious problems - one, he didn't know where the Union units were or where he might bump into one (as had happened on day one); also, he had to think of his army's supplies - if he sat in one place waiting for an attack, he'd have difficulty replenishing his army & routes of retreat might be blocked, while the Union army could be reinforced indefinitely the longer they waited.
Given the political situation though, Meade would surely have been ordered to attack quickly, wherever Lee holed up. Anything might've happened....maybe just another Antietam-type draw. (Which is how the Confederates generally portrayed Gettsyburg in the aftermath.)

I had not considered that the Confederates could have destroyed or forced a mass surrender of the Union army at Chancellorsville. Seems like the battle was difficult enough as it was - the Union army kept withdrawing into stronger defensive positions; didn't Hooker receive reinforcements & quickly move to cover the path of retreat?

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: Jun 3, 2012 9:04am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Hope one of you two sees this....

> the notorious Burnside. Ha!

Longstreet came very close to turning the Union left on the 2nd day at Gettyburg. The 15th Alabama (Col. William C. Oates) was repelled by a true hero of the war, Col. Joshua L. Chamberlain and the 20th Maine. But, you knew that. Maybe if Longstreet has jumped off @ 3pm? I like his concentrating his forces. Of the two dictum's, 'get there firstest w/ the mostest' (Forrest), he wasn't so good w/ the former. I still believe anything is better then the position the Union had at Gettysburg. Rifled muskets (400 yard. effective range), batteries that could provided enfilading fire from both flanks, several batteries straight ahead loaded w/ double canister, up a long slope that was harder at the end with a fence to climb and a more severe slope all the way to the Union line, ineffective preparation by Confederate artillery and a complete no show (again) by Ewell. I don't know if you have walked it, from the Confederate line to the Union, but it's not a hop, skip and jump.

I think the Union Army at Chancellorsville was in serious danger of destruction. Jackson was going to strike out North/ North-east to capture those fords. J.E.B. Stewart was put in charge after Jackson was shot, and that changed Lee's focus, which was to unite both separated wings of his Army. This meant an East-Wast movement and the Cannae possibility was lost for good.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jun 3, 2012 12:43pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Hope one of you two sees this....

Longstreet didn't do much on that third day at Gettysburg except wring his hands and moan... Not that anything he did would've made a difference that day, once Lee was set. "Attack a mile over an open field under cannon fire? My boys can do it - those people will scatter!" Right, Lee.

There have been (speculative) books written about how Lee had a carefully worked-out plan at Gettysburg - how Cemetery Hill was really his main goal both days, how he was trying to attack the Union army on both sides at once so they couldn't reinforce, etc - but his subordinates let him down... Actually, even if correct, books like these make him look even worse, like he was completely unable to control his generals. (Admittedly, dysentery will affect your concentration!)

There have long been debates about whether Sickles' move at Gettysburg hurt or helped Meade's army. (Sickles, ironically, had the Chancellorsville disaster in mind.) Meade certainly felt it was the wrong move; Sickles' corps was destroyed; and the Confederates almost broke through in spite of Meade sending in reinforcements; so the general conclusion is that it was a bad move.
Some Sickles defenders said that it slowed down the Confederate attack before it could reach Little Round Top. It also certainly dismayed Longstreet when he arrived and found a Union corps where it wasn't expected... Hood begged Longstreet to go around the Round Tops to the Union rear; but Longstreet felt enough time had already been lost in the long march & he wouldn't hear of it.
Another thing is that Sickles only moved his corps around 3pm, I think; and the Confederates attacked shortly afterwards. Had they acted with more alacrity & attacked earlier, Sickles would have been in his original position...

Anyway - Chancellorsville. Bevin Alexander has written a couple books on how Jackson could've destroyed the Union army there, but I think old Bev's a fool. It wouldn't have been so easy.
Jackson's units had to be reformed after the charge; he may not have told anyone (let alone Lee) what his next plan of attack was; Hooker may have moved more units in to protect his flank; and even if the river fords had been captured, holding them for days against Union counterattacks would've been another matter.
The ironic thing is that Hooker at Chancellorsville acted a lot like people say Lee should've done at Gettysburg - found a defensive position and waited for the enemy to attack him. But it didn't work for Hooker!
Hooker also had the advantage of, theoretically, having the Confederate army caught in a pincers - had he coordinated attacks, Lee would've had a hot time of it, and Lee had to worry about that. Hooker couldn't coordinate anything, though!
But Lee was distressed about his own attacks not working out, and certainly wasn't happy to see Hooker retreat back over the river. When he found out the Union army had escaped, Lee cried, "This is the way that you young men are always doing. You have again let these people get away. I can only tell you what to do, and if you will not do it, it will not be done!"

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Poster: light into ashes Date: May 30, 2012 1:41pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 150th Anniversary Today

Well, Davis & Lee didn't think too highly of Beauregard, and that's who counted... At least he got posted to a couple places where his talents could be used well.

Bragg did turn out to be a failure, although there's been a (small) minority of people trying to rehabilitate him lately. (Steven Woodworth has some good words for him.) He often surprised the Union with his maneuvers, and did have good strategic ideas, but was unable to carry them out - either paralyzed at the point of action, or so embroiled in little wars with his subordinates that nothing got done. Chickamauga, though he won, is a roll-call of lost opportunities because of refused orders & hissy-fits. (His plan was to defeat isolated, individual Union units in the previous week, but his generals wouldn't attack. By the time of the actual battle, Bragg had all but thrown in the towel in despair.)
The '62 invasion of Kentucky presented its own problems, since he realized midway that Kentuckians were not going to support or supply him & the longer he spent there, the worse situation he'd be in as Union armies started converging. A March to the North was not going to be too feasible! So there he started his pattern of retreating after a drawn battle...
His management at Chattanooga, though, was pitiful. By then he had more enemies in his own army than on the Union side.

Grant also said that Johnston was right not to try attacking him at Vicksburg, since it would've just been a waste of men! But of course Grant would say that... That was not Johnston's finest hour (if he ever had one).
From what I've read, I do think Lee's policy of keeping up attacks, however costly, was a better strategy for the Confederacy than Johnston's perpetual refusal to give battle. Anything to dismay & delay the North, while keeping up Southern hopes.
It's often said that Lee should have given up Richmond earlier so he would have more freedom of maneuver. I am not too sure of this, though - given that Richmond was a manufacturing center & railroad hub (and there were very few of those left in the South), if Lee withdrew he would have rapidly run into shortages of supplies & munitions (even more than he already had!).
Not only that, but the more territory the South gave up, the more soldiers deserted. That was a problem no one could solve... Given that state governors also withheld troops from the Confederate armies to defend their home ground, Davis had little choice but to try to defend territory rather than fight "guerrilla-style."
So if the best policy of the South was to buy time til the '64 election, they simply lost too much too fast to affect the election, even if Lee could hold his front.
I think it was historian William Davis who pointed out that even if McClellan had won the election, it would have made little difference to the war: it's not like Sherman & Grant would've just stopped after the votes were counted, and by the time of the inauguration in March '65, victory was in the bag anyway. (Heck, maybe the South would've surrendered faster if they knew Lincoln was out of the way.) The Reconstruction would sure have been handled differently, though.

Supposedly, there were few cases of Union soldiers raping white women. When they were caught, they were punished (generals could be pretty strict on that issue). But as you say, the true picture is trickier... It's hard to imagine that soldiers on Sherman's marches kept their pants clean. Given the culture of the time, most women who were raped probably said nothing. But also, prostitutes flourished wherever an army went. (Another under-reported side of the war.) And, as you say, white men could attack black women with impunity, and probably often did. Who would talk?

You might like Kent Gramm's book Gettysburg: a Meditation. He also has a great essay on the Gettysburg film in his essay book Somebody's Darling.
I also highly recommend Stephen Cushman's book Bloody Promenade, another meditation on the battle of the Wilderness.

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: May 31, 2012 7:00am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 150th Anniversary Today

If Davis & Lee had a bad opinion of you is was backwater time, or the West.

I understand Bragg's intention in Kentucky, but he seems always to have come down w/ the case of the Joe Hooker (ahem), 'He just lost faith in Braxton Bragg.' Do you have one or more folks that rub you the wrong way from the CW? Bragg is one for me.

I don't think Richmond ought to have been given up at all. Virginia, no matter how small an area the Confederacy controlled, was vital. As was easier access to the Shenandoah and key salt and lead mines nearby (which Stoneman destroyed in late '64 if memory serves me)

One of the best 'gifts' to come from Robert E. Lee was not to take the war up to the mountains in a guerrilla campaign in April of '65. All that preceded would have been a gentle walk in the park had he done so. (And some other commanders would have eagerly followed, such as Forrest.) I'm thinking of when the British went south in the Revolution and what happened in the Carolinas, but on a massive scale. To think what would have had to be done to end the rebellion. Maybe we even couldn't.

I think if McClellan won in '64 it would have been a miracle if the Union won. The Democrats were all over the place as far as policy and I doubt McClellan would have had the resolve for the 'arithmetic'. Lincoln stated he would have followed the policy of the new President immediately, but something strikes me as a bit slippery about that statement.

Oh if The President were not assassinated. "Let them up easy" instead of a vengeful Congress.

Thanks for the book recs!

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Poster: light into ashes Date: May 31, 2012 7:28am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 150th Anniversary Today

Yes, Davis & Lee had a habit of sending off troublesome generals to the West... Perhaps one reason why the Confederates were always quarreling & stumbling over themselves over there.

They agreed with you about not giving up Richmond! Heck, if the Southern capital had stayed farther south, Virginia may well have been taken right away, with disastrous consequences to Southern supplies.

I don't think anybody in the CW really irritates me... They're all such weird characters, even the worst of 'em are colorfully strange & demented. There was plenty of incompetence to go around!
It's WWI where I really shake my head in despair at what passed for generalship & political thought.

Some Southerners longed for the guerrilla option in the CW. Since Union policies got harder as the war went on, that wasn't going to go in a good direction...there was enough vengeful 'partisan' slaughter already. Davis & the other leaders, somewhat to their credit, were never really in favor of it (until briefly at the end), since it meant things would slip out of their control. Lee expressed well the humanitarian reasons to just drop their arms.
I wonder how long the general Southern population would have sustained guerrilla resistance after May '65, anyway. Disbanded armies roving around would've been a nuisance to friend & foe alike. I think most people were really ready to quit, even if Lee had exhorted them to take to the hills. Hard to say, though - hatred & vengefulness last a long time.

Even Lee was suggesting that the slaves be armed at the end...and I think the Confederate Congress even approved the idea in March '65. A clear indicator that by that point, further resistance had slipped into the realm of the insane.

I am not sure McClellan's election would have done that much harm. There was not that much 'arithmetic' left to calculate - the remaining Southern armies were mostly pinned or wrecked. Whatever Lincoln said ahead of time, the way things were going in Nov '64, I can't believe he'd say "hold up, boys, time to quit...and let's scrap this Proclamation..." Then again, if public confidence had dipped so far as to drop Lincoln for the peace Democrats, maybe Grant would've just walked away from Petersburg & Sherman headed back to Atlanta! Southern spirits may have risen enough to spur more resistance & harder battles though, I admit.
But if anybody would've "let the South up easy" in '65, McClellan would! And the problem after '65 was more a vengeful South than a vengeful Congress, I think. If anything, the South ended up winning the battle of self-determination in many ways.

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: Jun 1, 2012 10:08am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 150th Anniversary Today

I always thought that John H. Regan, an excellent administrator and Postmaster of the Confederacy, would have made a decent Quartermaster General. Supplying the Armies was an immense task and maybe no one could have kept the soldiers in corn meal and bacon. He would have had to have a long reach and the hardcore States Rights people would have raised Cain. Maybe no one could have done the job.

I think guerrilla resistance could have lasted quite some time. Logistics for 5, 10 or 20 men needs a few successful raids and some stealing from anybody to last a while. The war would have become even more dehumanizing and brutal, especially against the civilians, from both sides. It would have left a scar that I wonder how much would have healed even today.

I agree w/ you regarding Lincoln, no matter what he said leading up to the election of '64. He would have, let the thing be pressed (A. Lincoln)

That is an interesting thought about Grant and other Generals (like Butler or Banks), what they would have done if Lil' Mac won the election. Just as Lincoln had to balance each wing of his Party, the (usually racist) 'Peace' wing of the Peace Democrats against the war Democrats would have been a handful for MaCellan. He never showed much diplomacy as a General. Maybe he would have been a reverse Grant. I wonder how black people would have fared under, "let the South up easy" under a MaCellan administration. Not good is my feeling.

> the South ended up winning the battle of self-determination in many ways. Yes sir they did. Maybe not economically as it took many states until the 1980s to become part of the late 20th century. As far as their white supremacy and holding power as a solid Democratic majority for a hundred years there is no question.

I have been digging into some of the Confederate bios and though I shouldn't be struck by it the virulent racism and white supremacist notions that ran to the bone in so many of their leaders, as well as the common man, I was. Below is a fairly mild one.

Howell Cobb, President of the Provisional Confederate Congress and former Governor of Georgia, said this, "Use all the Negroes you can get, for the purposes you need them, but don't arm them. You cannot make soldiers of slaves, or slaves of soldiers. The day you make a soldier of them is the beginning of the end of the Revolution (Southern). And if slaves seem good soldiers, then our whole theory of slavery is wrong."

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jun 1, 2012 9:25pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 150th Anniversary Today

We're slipping off the front page!

The quartermaster system in the Confederacy was terrible. Those armies were ill-supplied and it could have been done much better...there was food available, it just didn't get to the soldiers. Of course there were also transportation difficulties, with so few functioning railroads. (One reason Lee invaded the North a couple times was just to feed his soldiers!)

But surprisingly, their arms situation was great - Confederate armies didn't lack for munitions. The soldiers had no food, no shoes, but they had plenty of bullets!

Since the guerrilla idea was quietly dropped by the leaders at the end, it's hard to say how it might have evolved. If it did take hold, there would have been a long & nasty occupation - Federal soldiers picked off, homes burned, civilians executed, increasing sectional hatred - an Iraq-like situation!

The interesting thing is that Southerners, from the beginning in '61, fully expected the Northern armies to come marauding, torching their homeland & molesting their women. (It was one reason Southern men flocked so readily to arms.) Lee illustrated this point of view when the Union army shelled Fredericksburg in '62: "These people delight to destroy the weak and those who can make no defense," he said; "it just suits them."

It's possible that black people could not have fared worse (or better) under any other administration, given the strong feelings in the South. The violence of Reconstruction is somewhat understated today - but rather than a guerrilla war on the battlefields, the targets shifted to the home front, as hundreds of blacks & Republicans were killed to make sure they wouldn't vote.

I take for granted the white-supremacist attitudes of the 1860s; it was part of the time. After all, the Supreme Court ruled in 1857 that blacks were "beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race...and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect."
What dismays me is when Southern leaders continued to have the same attitudes in the 20th century. I don't know if you've seen the film Birth of a Nation from 1915, but it's pretty chilling to see it & realize that it shows the *normal* viewpoint of most white Americans at the time.
But that was one of the legacies of the Civil War. Or rather, a cultural syndrome that no war or proclamation could solve.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Jun 2, 2012 12:26am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 150th Anniversary Today

Then two years after the Supreme Court ruling, Darwin came along and (accidentally) provided people with a way to appear to have a "modern, scientific" underpinning to their views. Social Darwinists were (and essentially still are) all about being apologists for inequality and power, and even promoting the apparently cruel as a Good, or at least as natural and necessary and hence beyond reproach. That's a thread that connects and warps in Europe to the Nazis, with their ideas of a struggle for survival requiring "lebensraum" (a 19th century Social Darwinist term) for the more "fit" races (also viewed as "scientific," with the "degenerate" race in Germany being seen not as blacks, of course, but as the Jews).

Viewpoints that to us read as sickeningly racist were not only common and respectable on both continents, though with different primary targets; they even appeared to be modern and scientific to many at the time. So it wasn't just a holdover attitude or a legacy. It was a holdover attitude that managed to connect up with a very powerful and influential strand of thought. You could easily be a "normal" person, in the South or North, and hold openly racist attitudes without seeming in the least backwards. (Hence Birth of the Nation, and later the less grotesquely "chilling" but casually assumed racism in Gone With the Wind.)

Meanwhile in Europe, those same attitudes -- both intellectually "respectable" and so widespread as to be normative -- fueled and rationalized a war.

So now I've managed to cobble together a connection between the CW thread and WWII :-)

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jun 2, 2012 2:09am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 150th Anniversary Today

There certainly is a connection. Hitler took direct inspiration from the US "race laws" in drawing up Germany's Nuremberg Laws. Worse yet, Nazi eugenics & sterilization programs were copied straight from their American predecessors.
Hitler once said, "I have studied with interest the laws of several American states concerning prevention of reproduction by people whose progeny would, in all probability, be of no value or be injurious to the racial stock."

Hitler's ideas about the "master race" were shared by many leaders in the US and the UK around the turn of the century. It was considered self-evident that whites were born to rule over inferior peoples...and also that whites needed to protect their "racial stock."
Lots of people also warned about the white race being overrun by "lesser races" - one reason immigration laws were passed in the US in the '20s to limit the "mongrelization" of the country, and also partly to keep more Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe out of the US. (Hitler praised these laws in Mein Kampf.)

But anyway. You needn't see too many '30s movies to notice that racial attitudes in the US hadn't progressed much since the 1860s. Racism was still quite normal & acceptable, though gradually being chipped at over the years. Actually my impression is that the '30s started to see a (very slow) upswing in "race relations" from the dreadful previous decades, though it would take a couple more decades to bear fruit. Even Hattie McDaniel's GWTW role (and Oscar) was a sign of progress, at the time.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Jun 2, 2012 5:08am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 150th Anniversary Today

Ah, the "lesser races" ... there were immigration laws to ban Indians in California, too, because of fear of the "tide of turbans." I'm sure the Nazis would have approved of that, which is ironic given the actual origin of the term "Aryan."

Historically, the "land of the Aryans" meant (and still means) the place where Hinduism is practiced; its ancient boundaries are delinated in Vedic literature as being roughly modern-day Northwest India/Pakistan/Southern Nepal ("Aryavartha," or "land of the Aryans.") It seems to have come into 19th c European thought, and hence made it to Hitler, through a process of confusion and mistaken scholarship. The swastika is an auspicious religious symbol in Hinduism, and "Swastika" is a common woman's name.

Kind of a bummer for South Asians, who can't exactly go around chanting "Aryan Power!" and wearing swastikas as a kind of yin-yang.

Sorry, way off track here from the CW! (And the GD relationship is ..... ummmmmm .... well, I'm sure we could come up with one :-) )

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jun 2, 2012 6:59am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 150th Anniversary Today

Wait, this is a GD forum? I wondered why people kept mentioning them...

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: Jun 2, 2012 9:51am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 150th Anniversary Today

No, this is the history forum. Next on deck ....

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: Jun 2, 2012 9:54am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 150th Anniversary Today

I can remember being a young child and my grandfather (who I dearly loved) letting N bombs freely fly. I also remember me chastising him about it, which thinking back was pretty ballsy b/c he was a big dude and I liked the Yankees. Those views of mine came from my parents who didn't tolerate such speech in their home and picked friends who has similar views. (I had a conversation w/ my Dad about this just before he died.) That didn't prevent him from bringing a .45 to and into Yankees games in the late 70s. Imaging doing that today.

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: Jun 2, 2012 9:28am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 150th Anniversary Today

It seems from the dairies, literature and media that nothing could burn holes into a Union man then a Southern woman. I tend to believe that using New Orleans as an example.

I can't give a pass to the, 'white-supremacist attitudes of the 1860s'. I think of G. Washington (best president) freeing his and (really) Martha's slaves upon his death. Why would he do that? He looked into history and wanted to be somewhat on the side of the angels.

That's why Jefferson comes off so badly. Not only did he have mulatto children running around looking curiously like him as Slaves(!) he wanted his lifestyle more then keeping his promise to free his slaves upon his death and consequently they were sold so his estate could pay its debts.

I can't recall Lee saying anything racist or Longstreet (whose post CW career is extremely interesting). Was white superiority the common attitude of the day? I have to day yes, but it doesn't give you a pass imo.

I love how history works sometimes. Hiram Rhodes Revels (R), becoming the first black man in Congress (the Senate as well) who was from Mississippi. The previous holder of that seat was Jefferson Davis.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jun 3, 2012 3:48am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 150th Anniversary Today

And nothing could rouse the fury of Southern women more than Ben Butler!

It's perhaps not so much that I "give a pass" to the white supremacy of the 1860s, as I assume it's the normal condition of most Southerners then...deplorable but inevitable, despite some exceptions. Those brave souls who thought differently were swimming against the tide.

Freeing your slaves when you're dead is not that impressive! While some of the "founders" hoped slavery would be abolished someday, they wouldn't do much about it themselves... (That's a whole complicated discussion by itself.)

While there were many enlightened individuals in the 18th & 19th centuries who said that slavery was wrong & blacks were fully human, and I'm happy they existed, I consider them ahead of their time to some extent. Like candles in the darkness. And I certainly wouldn't expect to find those views among Confederate generals & Southern politicians!

While Lee was more enlightened than, say, Forrest, I still find nothing admirable in his viewpoint. For instance, when the Confederate army marched up North to Gettysburg, they kidnapped free blacks to take back South & turn into slaves. That's stooping pretty low, and is tragic; but it's the kind of activity I'd expect from a Confederate army. What would surprise me more is if Lee had said, "Let them alone."

(Edit, now that we're off the front page) -
Rather than blather on, I'll conclude with Grant's words:
"I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse."

This post was modified by light into ashes on 2012-06-03 10:48:21

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: Jun 3, 2012 9:02am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 150th Anniversary Today


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